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Pak warns nuclear suppliers against selective approach
Suman Guha Mozumder in New York | October 03, 2007 09:22 IST
Pakistan on Tuesday warned the Nuclear Suppliers Group of States that any selective endorsement of a country can jeopardise the current international consensus on nuclear non-proliferation.
"In the coming months, the NSG states have a heavy responsibility as any endorsement of a selective or discriminatory approach could fatefully damage the existing consensus on disarmament and non-proliferation," Pakistan Foreign Secretary Riaz Mohammad Khan told the United Nations General Assembly without naming India.
He said the incipient United States-India nuclear deal has spelled concerns in Islamabad over maintenance of strategic stability in the region, but that it will keep the balance despite its opposition to arms race.
"We have concerns over strategic stability, which we will maintain despite our firm opposition to an arms race in South Asia," Khan said.
Noting that Pakistan remains committed to disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, he said evidently the global consensus on disarmament and non-proliferation has been seriously eroded because of a number of reasons, including the emergence of de-facto nuclear weapons states that are not parties to the NPT and discrimination in the conduct of peaceful nuclear cooperation.
He said that there is an obvious need for a new and universal consensus on non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful nuclear cooperation that eliminates dangers and risks and establishes cooperation on an equitable basis.
Mohammad, who is the leader of the Pakistani delegation to the UNGA, said that Pakistan has a strong interest in developing civil nuclear power generation under international safeguards. "Our nuclear and strategic assets are solely for defensive purposes. We started pursuing the nuclear option only after 1974 when the strategic balance was disrupted by the first Indian nuclear test,' he said.
Mohammad claimed that Islamabad's initiatives for keeping South Asia free of nuclear weapons received scant international response. "In 1998, again we were faced with a dilemma and had to respond to the Indian tests to establish deterrence. Our failure to do so would have created a dangerous ambiguity about capability with the risk of miscalculation," he said.
Mohammad claimed that Islamabad wished to reaffirm that its strategic capability is solely for deterrence and defense. "We are opposed to an arms race and want to maintain minimum credible deterrence. We will not be the first to test in our region. We will never use our nuclear capability against non-nuclear weapons states," he said.
Noting that conflicts continue in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan, Mohammad said that in South Asia the Kashmir dispute is yet to be resolved and that old disputes are compounded by new confrontations. "Pakistan is engaged in peace process with India that has led to significant improvement in bilateral relations. The two countries must now seize the opportunity provided by the conductive international and regional environment to address the problems, especially the Jammu and Kashmir [Images] dispute that has been at the heart of conflict and tension in South Asia," he said.
"Both sides will have to demonstrate political will, courage and flexibility. We are pursuing a solution that is acceptable to India, to Pakistan and above all the people of Jammu and Kashmir," he said.